Sputnik Sweetheart - Haruki Murakami

This is the second of Murakami's books that I've read, and I was a little more prepared this time. I picked up on some similiarities between this one and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Murakami's books are a bit dream-like, with mysterious characters with surprising amounts of influence; people vanish inexplicably; motivations are hard to determine. But the most notable aspect is that things don't resolve the way you might expect from other novels. If somebody hints at a life-changing experience in their past, you can't count on finding out what it was. If somebody disappears, they may turn up ... or not. You never know.

As in a dream, the individual pieces of a scene seem real, but taken on the whole there's something wrong about it that you can't quite place. It's unsettling, and as you read you realize that there's not enough pages left in the book for him to answer all the questions you still have.

As with his last book, this book also got me wondering about translations, since it was originally written in Japanese and translated by Philip Gabriel. What is the book like in its original language? Are there things that don't come across properly? One of the main characters is named Sumire, which means Violet in Japanese: did they have to explain that in Japanese? Or was she named "Violet" in the original?

Murakami is definitely a wonderful writer and a creative storyteller, but I'm still not entirely sure if I like him. If you want to be unsettled and disturbed, check this book out. If you like your nice, neat resolutions for your books, better pass on this one.

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 21, 2005 | Comments (0)


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